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Charlotte home sales, prices rise in June

Charlotte existing-home sales and prices rose in June from the same month a year ago, as the region continues to see strengthening of the housing market. But buyers are faced with dwindling options, as the inventory of homes listed for sale keeps falling, a factor credited with helping drive up prices.

On Tuesday, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported preliminary findings that show sales in the metropolitan area increased 31.2 percent in June to 3,485, from 2,657 in June 2012. The average home price climbed 5.2 percent during the period, to $239,842 from $227,907.

The association’s president, Eric Locher, attributed the rising prices in the Charlotte region to an increase in sales of expensive homes.

“For a good while, upper-end homes weren’t selling,” he said. “So, the average sales price was relatively low. You sell a few expensive homes, and it pulls that average up.”

Sales of pricier homes stem from consumers feeling better about the future of the economy, he said.

Homes in the Charlotte region sold faster in June than they did the same month last year. The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed was 132, a decrease of 16.

As homes take a shorter amount of time to sell, prices are rising, Locher said. In June, the average list price was $259,086, an increase of 8.8 percent from $238,201 in June 2012.

“Sellers get more confident in trying to ask for a little bit more,” Locher said.

Meanwhile, the amount of homes being listed for sale is not enough to counter shrinking inventory. There were 4,585 new listings in June, up 9.1 percent over June 2012. But inventory plummeted 21.9 percent over the period, creating a 5.1-month supply of homes for sale, which indicates a market in favor of sellers.

Locher said a balanced market has a four- to six-month supply of homes.

With the inventory of existing homes for sale continuing to drop in Charlotte, homebuilders might see opportunity.

“The challenge there is finding reasonably priced dirt,” Locher said.

Locher said the Charlotte housing market continues to see prospective buyers making multiple offers on individual homes as they try to outbid one another. That is widely credited with helping drive up housing prices in the region.

Nationwide, prices and sales of existing homes have been rising, too. According to the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 12.9 percent to 5.18 million in May from May 2012. The median existing-home price was $208,000 in May, up 15.4 percent from May 2012.

May is the most recent month for which NAR has available data.

Roberts: 704-358-5248 Twitter: @DeonERoberts
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